UMP Collaborates with Qatar University for a Research Project on Additive Manufacturing

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Universiti Malaysia Pahang has collaborated with Qatar University and has a grant on Qatar National research fund for research work in the field of additive manufacturing. The total award was RM3.2 million, and UMP received RM160,000 from the award.

The main objective of the project was to investigate the potential of a more flexible and lightweight titanium alloy femoral stems that can be manufactured using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process. A fully porous and functionally graded design was utilized to develop a novel pore cellular structure with compressive properties that are similar to human bone.

A 3D finite element model was developed to study and compare the load transfer to the periprosthetic femur when implanted with femoral stems offering different stiffness configurations. Also, fatigue and static tests were done on the fabricated design to study the performance under static and fatigue loadings.

Factors affecting the manufacturability and production of the femoral stem through DMLS were also investigated. Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a common hip replacement procedure. Due to material stiffness mismatch between the bone and implant, loosening the implant is possible, and many patients had to redo the surgery because of the excruciating pains.

As such, novel material design for the hip femoral stem is needed to reduce material stiffness mismatch through additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing will give the surgeon the freedom to customize the hip femoral implant based on the patient’s anatomical data/measurements.

This project is essential to produce a printing implant for the patient. The current trend shows an increase in the market for implant products. The project has been completed successfully, and it is a stepping stone for UMP to involve in additive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing is a recent trend in production processes owing to its many benefits around the globe. It can be defined as the process of producing parts through the deposition of material in a layer-by-layer technique. It has been the most searchable research topic since 2000.

According to Frost and Sullivan, the value of additive manufacturing is expected to grow at a rate of 15 percent from US$5.31 billion in 2015 to US$21.50 billion in 2025. The industries that are going to contribute 51 percent by 2025 are aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.

The 2015 Wohler report stated that a lot of new technology had been evolved in material production for metal printing in the past 10 years compared with plastics. SmarTech Markets Publishing reported that metal printing machines sales grew a significant amount of 89 percent over the past year, as manufacturers turn to three-dimensional (3D) printing.